Most disappointing conversions from other systems

reminisce about bbc micro & electron games like chuckie egg, repton, elite & exileRelated forum: adventures


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fwibbler
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Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by fwibbler » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:16 pm

By that I mean disappointing compared to other 8 bit (or 16bit for that matter) versions.
I'll kick off with Commando which I've just been watching on Youtube. (I've just had a play of it as well :( )
The BBC version is just so slow and has none of the gameplay that other versions (even the Spectrum) have.
The men are too fat (this may have been mentioned before) and have none of the animation or variety of movement that other versions have.
The C64 is particularly good with men visibly jumping down from roof tops as they did in the arcade and also has the helicopter landing to drop off the hero at the start.
On top of all this the sound is atrocious with no title tune, no ingame tune and awful sound effects.
The only saving grace I can find is that the ground is more detailed than in the Spectrum and Amstrad versions.
Surely the Beeb was capable of better than this?
I'll try leaving you with some links to Youtube videos for each port.
BBC https://youtu.be/mMRY1qcQyig
Spectrum https://youtu.be/No2CGsu9Zaw
Commodore 64 https://youtu.be/cdGaZ8Fakok

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by RobC » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:04 pm

Completely agree - it should be possible to do a much better version on the Beeb using vertical rupture for smooth scrolling. However, I did enjoy playing it BITD and it does look a bit better using VideoNuLA to recreate some of the original colours.

I think Paperboy, which is also an Elite conversion, could also be massively improved. I've sometimes thought about doing it but I was never a great fan of the original.

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by trixster » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:34 pm

I absolutely adored Beeb commando back in the day!
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Master Turbo + DC + BeebSID | Atom | A4000 060 | A3000 060 | A1200 060 | A500
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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by Rich Talbot-Watkins » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:05 pm

I would have to nominate Green Beret for being a terrible conversion, and just a terrible game in general. It's just too fast to be even slightly playable, and that scrolling is horrific.

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by tricky » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:14 pm

But look how colourful it is on the beeb! (why isn't there a smilie for vomiting?).

I know I've mentioned it before (in fact, I never stop mentioning it), but Acornsoft's "Carousel" (Carnival in the arcades) was my biggest disappointment BITD. I've just niticed that this version is actually called Carnival, I don't remember seeing that before.

Oh, and most graphic adventures as they were usually graphic-less on the beeb.

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by SimonSideburns » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:23 pm

For me, Atic Atac was one of those that was most disappointing on the Beeb. It just didn't seem right considering that it required a high number of colours and on the Beeb that meant MODE 2 with its fat pixels when compared to the Spectrum version.
I'm writing a game where you can change your character from a Wizard to a monkey to a cat.

Well, Imogen that!

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by barbarossa69 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:46 am

trixster wrote:I absolutely adored Beeb commando back in the day!
Me too!

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by Rich Talbot-Watkins » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:02 am

SimonSideburns wrote:For me, Atic Atac was one of those that was most disappointing on the Beeb. It just didn't seem right considering that it required a high number of colours and on the Beeb that meant MODE 2 with its fat pixels when compared to the Spectrum version.
I used to love Atic Atac on the Beeb, though I hadn't seen the Speccy version by comparison. I think the Ultimate Play the Game mystique somehow helped to make it more compelling. Same goes for Jetpac - many people say it's blocky and terrible compared to the Spectrum version, but I always found it pretty good, if a little simplistic.

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by Rich Talbot-Watkins » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:09 am

RobC wrote:I think Paperboy, which is also an Elite conversion, could also be massively improved. I've sometimes thought about doing it but I was never a great fan of the original.
Yeah Paperboy's horrible. Exactly why they decided MODE 4 in blue and yellow was the right way to go, I have no idea. There was a Paperboy clone by the authors of Ravenskull and Codename Droid which was never completed but looked far better - shame that's lost forever. Something like that with a smooth vertical scroll might well have worked very well!

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by Prime » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:11 am

I think part of this depends on which version you played first, which Is why I prefer the Dragon version of Chuckie Egg to the beeb, I'm more 'used' to it. Though in this case the Beeb version is deffo a close second.

Cheers.

Phill.

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by davidjefferies » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:02 am

SpyHunter.

Loved playing the arcade version at the local sports center, then my mate got it on C64 and it looked (to my young eyes) as close to arcade perfect as was possible back then.

Then I got it for my Beeb and, oh.

arcade https://youtu.be/vSHIHaU1SfA
c64 https://youtu.be/mqz881sy8YQ
bbc https://youtu.be/81C72HYJm_M

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by RobC » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:00 pm

Rich Talbot-Watkins wrote:There was a Paperboy clone by the authors of Ravenskull and Codename Droid which was never completed but looked far better - shame that's lost forever.
That is a shame - the screenshot looks really good and I'm a big fan of mode 1 games.
davidjefferies wrote:SpyHunter.
Looking at the C64 version, I think you could get pretty close to it. It's a pity vertical rupture wasn't discovered earlier!

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by Lardo Boffin » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:03 pm

Rich Talbot-Watkins wrote:
SimonSideburns wrote:For me, Atic Atac was one of those that was most disappointing on the Beeb. It just didn't seem right considering that it required a high number of colours and on the Beeb that meant MODE 2 with its fat pixels when compared to the Spectrum version.
I used to love Atic Atac on the Beeb, though I hadn't seen the Speccy version by comparison. I think the Ultimate Play the Game mystique somehow helped to make it more compelling. Same goes for Jetpac - many people say it's blocky and terrible compared to the Spectrum version, but I always found it pretty good, if a little simplistic.
I think Sabre Wulf is better overall on the beeb (vs Spectrum) version although it does lack a few of the baddies this doesn’t really affect game play - there are still plenty of things trying to get you!

Going slightly off topic I was expecting great things of Ghouls on the C64 when I tried it recently (given its SID sound system) but the beeb has better sound. So actually not slight off topic but completely opposite of topic... :oops:
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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by tricky » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:18 pm

RobC, vertical rupture doesn't help paperboy as the movement is diagonal, but a NuLA version with virtual rupture, now that is a different matter ;)
Or just make it a straight vertical scroller. I don't remember the dates, but we did have FireTrack scrolling bitd.
P.S. I think everyone knows I'm a fan of mode 1 too.

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by RobC » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:44 pm

tricky wrote:RobC, vertical rupture doesn't help paperboy as the movement is diagonal, but a NuLA version with virtual rupture, now that is a different matter ;)
Or just make it a straight vertical scroller. I don't remember the dates, but we did have FireTrack scrolling bitd.
P.S. I think everyone knows I'm a fan of mode 1 too.
I was thinking of mode 2 with 2 pixel horizontal scrolling and then using rupture for 2 pixel vertial scrolling (or at least something less than 8!). However, as you say, a NuLA version could do single pixel in both directions. (I know that Fortress did something similar by reducing the number of lines per character but that is obviously a quick way to blow RAM...)

Not sure how the Amstrad CPC version does it but it looks pretty decent and the Beeb should, in theory, be able to do something similar.

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by paulb » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:50 pm

davidjefferies wrote:SpyHunter.

Loved playing the arcade version at the local sports center, then my mate got it on C64 and it looked (to my young eyes) as close to arcade perfect as was possible back then.
I agree with the sentiment that you could probably do as well as that on the Beeb, too.
davidjefferies wrote:Then I got it for my Beeb and, oh.
Interesting how US Gold actually took the Micro Power knock-off and made it official. It reminds me of the game "Roadrunner" that was presumably based on the arcade "bootleg" of Rally X (seen at the local swimming baths) that was around at the time with the same, or similar, name. That Micro Power effort was possibly an even more blatant attempt to make very easy money from overenthusiastic punters.

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by paulb » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:54 pm

Rich Talbot-Watkins wrote:I would have to nominate Green Beret for being a terrible conversion, and just a terrible game in general. It's just too fast to be even slightly playable, and that scrolling is horrific.
Green Beret was one of those games that seemed better than it actually was. But we should really be pairing up disappointing conversions with their rather better platform-original competitors. So, I would argue that Shark is the other half of this pair. Even the screen-by-screen Electron version of Shark is a more interesting game.

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by fwibbler » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:00 pm

RobC wrote:I think Paperboy, which is also an Elite conversion, could also be massively improved. I've sometimes thought about doing it but I was never a great fan of the original.
Yes, I'd forgotten about Paperboy. The BBC version is definately bad, but some of the other home versions aren't great either. The Amstrad in particular is bad in almost every way except for the extra colour (and that doesn't help much).
One of the better 8 bit versions is on the Spectrum (imo).
trixster wrote:I absolutely adored Beeb commando back in the day!
Funnily enough I was quite proud of it when comparing it with a friends Spectrum version. Problem was, he'd seen the arcade version and I hadn't! #-o
tricky wrote:I know I've mentioned it before (in fact, I never stop mentioning it), but Acornsoft's "Carousel" (Carnival in the arcades) was my biggest disappointment BITD.
The thing is (for me at least), Acornsofts versions of Carnival and Frogger were probably the best versions available at the time so we (those of us who hadn't really seen the arcade versions in action) were quite happy with them.
It wasn't until later in life that I discovered what the arcade versions were like and how far away from them some of the 8bit ports were.
Then came some more recent versions of them (like your Carnivale and Frogger) which show how good they can be.

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by fwibbler » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:44 pm

SimonSideburns wrote:For me, Atic Atac was one of those that was most disappointing on the Beeb. It just didn't seem right considering that it required a high number of colours and on the Beeb that meant MODE 2 with its fat pixels when compared to the Spectrum version.
I'm also not normally a fan on the fat pixel Mode 2 but there are still some games that do well with it.
Sabre Wulf was one of my favourites. I enjoy playing the BBC version as much as the Spectrums. In fact, I haven't yet found a bad version of this game.
Whether it be the C64, BBC, Amstrad, Plus4, Spectrum or TI99/4A, they all seem to play about the same.
I never understood why they didn't make a Mode5 version of the Electron as apart from a slight lack of colour the game would still have played about the same.
RobC wrote:Not sure how the Amstrad CPC version does it but it looks pretty decent and the Beeb should, in theory, be able to do something similar.
Just found another Amstrad version of Paperboy. Not sure which I like best. They probably play completely diferently.
https://youtu.be/Ol-O1RXG_PA
Amstrad versions start at 14:46

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by tricky » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:44 pm

I think it was RichTW who told me that Fortress (Zaxon) used half height characters which would give diagonal movement in mode 1 (fortress probably wasn't in mode 1). I used the same thing for my first version of Rally-X, BITD. It doesn't waste too much memory (OK, yes it does) as you can store your sprites in the half characters not displayed ;)
Paperboy is south south west scrolling, so in mode one, one horizontal byte would be eight vertical, but that would just be too fast - Spyhunter fast!

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by Rich Talbot-Watkins » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:04 pm

Actually I think the arcade machine and faithful ports are 45 degrees scrolling - so 1 character block in MODE 1 / 2, and 4 pixels vertically. The CPC version seems to use an even more shallow angle - looks like only 2 pixels vertically! It has a graphical style that'd be interesting and unique to see on the Beeb, but the only problem I can see is the lack of grey for the roads (and black road vs black tires would look bad too). I think colour-wise, the Beeb just isn't up to a good port, unless it were to be a VideoNuLA exclusive!

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by tricky » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:28 pm

Your right, 45 degrees, but in pixel increments. The road is pretty dark, so you could probably get away with black and just add puddles, drains and lines to indicate movement.

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by tricky » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:15 am

I think doing it vertically would be OK, still keeping the isometric view of the houses and it runs on a POKEY, so 6502 already; the ~600K of code and data is a bit much though and it would benefit from the 3 pixel per byte NuLA mode.

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by MatthewThompson » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:20 am

I have to agree Paperboy would be up there as one of the most disappointing conversions, first one I thought of when I saw the title thread, the game was OK, but it looked horrible, and I didn't like the fact you had to hold down a turbo button to go faster , where as normally you just moved up (I think that's right) .

Green Beret looks awful, especially compared to other versions but it was an alright game. I thought Spy Hunter was OK, but too many empty roads where nothing was happening.

I was also disapointed with the conversion of Mikie, I had played it excessively on the Spectrum, and found the Electron version a poor copy of it, the BBC version improved with music and was fun to play but still wasn't as good.

Bruce Lee is another one, I played it loads of the Spectrum, and then got the BBC version which generally is OK, but it is missing one of the main characters (forget which one) and there are loads of screens missing.

But the main one for me was when I got Jet Set Willy 2 for the Electron , loaded it up, was disappointed it was monochrome, but I can live with that, but all the original rooms had gone , and there was loads of weird ones not in the version of JSW 2 i'd played and the whole thing wasn't what I had hoped for at all. Luckily when I got a Beeb I got the disk version version which resolved virtually all of this, and it also gives the BBC 2 versions of JSW2 but at the time it was a massive let down !

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by Commie_User » Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:42 pm

I think bad game conversions meant that the designers at Acorn lived up to expectations. That Acorn machines leaned to something else reminds me of the Del Boy quote: 'You were always up to that Rodney, education and learning. That's why you're no good at snooker.'

Though bad conversions sometimes made good. Paperboy looking (and chugging) like a game ported to a proper business computer also means that it's slow enough to master despite its drawbacks - tiny room for maneouvre included. The Commodore version was atrocious AND fast.

Also owners of the 'real' games micros complained on their own part - the arcade conversions (especially by Ocean) could be TERRIBLE compared to the actual coin-ops anyway. I bellyached a lot with my lot, as they were so bad, and mine were only second-hand games.

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by Kecske Bak » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:38 pm

Worst conversion I know of was Gyroscope by Melbourne House. My younger brother bought it, played it, took it back to Boots because it was rubbish and Boots let him have his money back and keep the tape - they didn't want it! They'd already had several returned apparently.

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by barbarossa69 » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:03 pm

Kecske Bak wrote:Worst conversion I know of was Gyroscope by Melbourne House. My younger brother bought it, played it, took it back to Boots because it was rubbish and Boots let him have his money back and keep the tape - they didn't want it! They'd already had several returned apparently.
I really enjoyed gyroscope!

I guess my problem is I never saw these games on other platforms

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by Rich Talbot-Watkins » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:11 pm

Son of Blagger is appalling too. Apparently a port of a C64 original. OK, I know we didn't know the vertical hardware scrolling tricks at that point, but they probably ought to have not bothered with this port!

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by Commie_User » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:19 am

Blagger was rubbish on our systems too.

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Re: Most disappointing conversions from other systems

Post by Pablos544 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:41 pm

so from this general upbeat kind of thread I can infer that there certainly seems to have been some bad arcade conversions then lol :lol: :lol:

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